Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC) – 2011

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The Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC) 2011, a study of socio-economic status of rural and urban households that permits ranking based on predefined parameters, was initiated in June 2011 by the Ministry of Rural Development of Government of India. In Socio Economic Caste Census, 2011, for the first time a comprehensive exercise of door to door enumeration across the country has been carried out for both rural and urban India. This census, Socio Economic Caste Census -2011, is also expected to generate information on a large number of social and economic indicators linked to households across the country.

Socio Economic Caste Census -2011, has three constituents that were conducted by three separate authorities but under the overall coordination Department of Rural Development. The Department of Rural Development (DoRD) has conducted Census in Rural Areas. Census in Urban Areas falls under the administrative jurisdiction of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA). Administration of the Caste Census is controlled by Ministry of Home Affairs: Registrar General of India (RGI) and Census Commissioner of India.

Socio Economic Caste Census  2011 is a unique paperless Census in which the counting of the data was done by using over 6.4 lakh electronic handheld instruments. Apart from School Teachers and Data Entry Operators as enumerators, Gram Panchayats and Gram Sabhas were involved in this process.

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Objectives of SECC-2011

The objectives of the Socio Economic Caste Census  2011 are to empower households to be ranked based on their socio-economic status- by using this data State Governments can prepare a list of families that are living below the poverty line; to cater authentic information that would enable caste wise population counting of the country; and to provide authentic information about the socio-economic condition, and education status of numerous caste and sections of the population.

The MoRD has decided to use the Socio Economic Caste Census data in all of its programmes as these data would have appropriate use in projects such as Housing for All, Education and Skill Trust, MGNREGA, National Ford Security Act, interventions for differently able, etc.

Outcomes of the Socio-Economic Data for Rural India

On July 3, 2015, the provisional socio-economic data for Rural India was released, after the survey had been completed in all the640 districts. It was released because its use in evidence based planning for rural development and poverty decimation needed to be undertaken immediately.

Survey done in rural areas has reflected some disturbing outcomes that manifest the current status of India’s rural section. It indicates that most of the rural population is engaged in unorganized sectors’ jobs. The survey discloses that 49% of the rural population have signs of poverty; around 2,37 crore houses have either Kuchha Wall or roof or one room or less; Less that five percent of rural households pay income tax. Even in rich states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra this number hangs around the five per cent mark; just twenty percent of the rural households  possess a vehicle and only eleven percent have refrigerator, however it is encouraging to know that about 72 per cent possess a phone of some sort; and about 30% of rural households do not have any land and they get a major part of their income from manual labour.

According to SECC-2011, 23.5% of rural households does not have a literate adult above the age of 25. Of the illiterate rural population, about 20% have not even completed their primary education.

In urban areas a large percentage of population suffer the lack of basis amenities of water and electricity. According to Socio Economic Caste Census  about 20 Lakh households have no electricity supply and50 Lakh households do not have the access of drinking water within their premises.

It is disappointing that the socio-economic indicators of various caste groups have not been released.

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The Criteria Exclusion in Socio Economic Caste Census

SECC has catered for automatic exclusion on the basis of 14 grounds; automatic exclusion on the basis of 5 grounds and grading of deprivation on the basis of seven criteria. The phrase exclusion in socio-economic census indicates those persons who are not going to be considered entitled for major anti-poverty efforts.

Drawback of the Exclusion Criteria

It has been found that if the proposed exclusion criteria is applied, a little under 40% of the rural households would become ineligible for entitlements provided by the Union Government.

Sensing and accepting that a large number of poor people are left, the expert committee on the use of SECC data for rural development recommended to relax the exclusion criteria so that a household would be excluded either if it had any one of the five specified indicators or if it possessed any two of their remaining exclusion indicators.

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